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Lecture 9

HIST 3010 Lecture 9: Notes 03.02.17

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HIST 3010

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WEEK 8: CENSORSHIP II THURSDAY 03/02/17 LISA DOWNING, “SNUFF AND NONSENSE: THE DISCURSIVE LIFE OF A PHANTASMATIC ARCHIVE,” IN PORN ARCHIVES.** STEPHEN F. ROHDE, “FREEDOM OF CYBERSPEECH,” IN PORN 101.** LISA DOWNING, “SNUFF AND NONSENSE: THE DISCURSIVE LIFE OF A PHANTASMATIC ARCHIVE,” IN PORN ARCHIVES • Snuff films originates from when killers allegedly made recordings of their crimes • 1970s, rumored that genre of porn films existed which culminated with the female performer murdered or “snuffed out” on camera • Same phrase as in Mercer’s article, “pornography is the theory; rape is the practice” • Movie Snuff showed death of female performer in end with xenophobia (“the film that could only be made in South America...where life is CHEAP!”) • FBI looked into death in Snuff because female activists claimed that the death was real (it wasn’t) but even though it was fictional, carries weight • The movie Snuff gave provisional definition of a snuff movie: film in which a person who is shown alive at the beginning of the footage is killed on-screen and shown dead by the end o Must be created to produce sexual arousal o Must be commercially distributed FEMINISM, SNUFF, AND CENSORSHIP • Existence of snuff scares and drives anti-porn feminists into wanting censorship • Female actress told she is going to act out a simulated death, but is actually tortured, mutilated, dismembered, and killed • Snuff shows that porn as a whole is about the annihilation of women, their destruction, the end point that all the rest of porn is a movement towards • Dworkin and Josephson interview about snuff films o Both agree that murderer of women should be criminalized o Josephson sides with Justice Blackmun and that the resulting film is protected under the First Amendment even though it offends and psychologically damages viewers o Dworkin thinks it’s wrong that the film is protected under First Amendment • Urgent issue of violence against women is repeatedly sidelined and undermined by obsessive recourse to snuff films o Snuff fails to work as effective argument for existence of cultural misogyny o Snuff fails to indicate reality of exploitation in porn SIMULATION, STIMULATION, AND THE LAW • For a snuff film to exist, it must be proven that the person has really died • Doesn’t matter whether death is really a death or not for prosecutors, it matters if porn is really porn (based on legal definition) and if porn is sufficiently deviant to fail to turn on the moral majority • Julian Petley argues that reliance on appearance instead of fact opens pathways for other material beyond niche porn to be criminalized • Some women see filming of true non-consensual sex, not as porn but as crimes that happen to be taped o That realistic depictions of acts are depictions o Law won’t reduce harm through possession of extreme adult porn o These women have nothing against violence in sex as long as it is consensual (e.g. BDSM or sadomasochism) o Their sexuality is a consensual celebration, and they recognize that there is something wrong with nonconsensual, forced sex in commercial industry o Wish that government would stop trying to censor porn and get to real causes of rape, domestic violence, and sexual assault o Porn should become more acceptable so that when real instances of abuse occur, the victim will find it easier to complain (idk bout this) • Depends on values of normativity and where each person is on the sexuality spectrum SOME CONCLUDING REMARKS • Daniel DePew approached by undercover police officer and tricked into discussing a young boy to kill in a snuff film o Just for talking about it DePew has 33 years in prison o Violent fantasies are in minds of “sick” individual and governments, projecting them onto the citizenry • Snuff films shouldn’t be seen as the ghost of something that once was but rather as the phantasm that harbingers a becoming • The fantasy draws attention away from actual social phenomena and focuses instead on a ghost that persistently haunts the discourse • Need to focus more on issue where commercially viable material is protected and “aberrant” others are demonized STEPHEN F. ROHDE, “FREEDOM OF CYBERSPEECH,” IN PORN 101. • June 1997, Supreme Court granted cyberspace the fullest degree of First Amendment protection in Reno vs. American Civil Liberties Union, et al., because Internet is “the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed” and is entitled to “the highest protection from government intrusion” THE INTERNET • Internet spreading to hundreds of millions fast SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL • Text, pictures, and chat • Once posted on Internet, nothing can prevent it spreading all over the world • Works of Edward Weston and Robert Mapplethorpe and sex ed can be spread, two sides of a coin AGE VERIFICATION • No way to verify that viewer of sexually explicit material online is over 18 • Even if minors were blocked from news groups and chat rooms with explicit material, there are still so many other materials that they would have access to • Credit card or adult password verification is burdensome and not available to many REJECTION OF PRECEDENTS RELIED ON BY THE GOVERNMENT • Government said that CDA was constitutional (Communications Decency Act of 1996 which made it a crime to knowingly transmit “indecent” mes
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